Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

July 12, 2019

Shiba Wichern Auxerrois 2017, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Notes courtesy of Chris Wichern: “Our main goals are balance and elegance. As it turns out a great way to do this is via minimal intervention during ferment and cellaring. On the other hand it requires that we spend a lot of time in the vineyard during the growing season and during harvest for field sorting. One thing that Akiko (Shiba) insists on doing differently from a very big portion of the industry -big or small- is actually work the vineyards ourselves. Our grapes don’t grow in picking bins on flatbed trucks. She refuses to hire a crew to do the field work. Almost every step is done by Akiko, friends & family, and me. This gives Akiko such a high level of control and understanding of the grapes, the importance of which should not be under estimated.

Finally, Akiko much like the Japanese cliché, observes, learns and collects what she deems to be the best practices for wine-making. Implementing what she learns is not always easy and sometimes doesn’t work out as we expect, but that is also key to the learning process. Over the past 5 harvests we have worked out a lot of kinks. Give us about 20-25 more years and we might actually admit to knowing what we are doing…”

Auxerrois is widely planted in Alsace, where it is frequently blended with Pinot Blanc, although rarely named on labels. It’s slightly fuller, and lower acid than Pinot Blanc, and is also popular in Luxembourg, where it’s appreciated as a low acid white. This Willamette Auxerrois is leesy and yeasty, a little bit like the Shiba rosé we all know and love. It’s light and floral too, and is perfect on a table full of summery fare.

Domaine Romuald Petit, Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2018, Saint-Vérand, France

This 7-hectare estate is made up of small plots of different age & origin that are farmed without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. There are young vines planted by winemaker Romuald Petit, and others over a hundred years old. Each parcel produces grapes with very different qualities that are vinified separately & assembled just before bottling.

Old vines combined with heavy clay and fossil rich limestone soils add depth and mineral intensity to this un-oaked chardonnay. After vinification it’s left on its lees for 8 months, adding further textural nuances and preserving freshness and acidity.

Domaine Eugene Carrel Vin de Savoie Rosé 2018, Savoie, France

We tasted this wine when it first arrived back in April. We just got another stack so we’re tasting it again!

Domaine Eugene Carrel is located in Savoie, in eastern France, in the village of Jongieux. It’s situated on 59 acres of steep slopes on the Chavaz Mountain. This is where the French Alps begin, and it is a region famous for cheese, vermouth, and part of the Tour de France bike race.

Winemaker Olivier Carrel represents the third generation to run the estate. They grow all the traditional varieties here including Jacquere, Altesse, Gamay, Pinot, and Mondeuse on steep slopes they work by hand, sustainably, with the goal of fostering healthy, biodiverse vineyards. Domaine Carrel is poured in every restaurant and bistro in Savoie.

This wine is mostly Gamay with about 20% Mondeuse, which which adds juicy, peppery notes to this light & fruity sipper.

COS Nero di Lupo 2015, Sicily

COS winery was founded in 1980 by three friends, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano; the initials of their last names form the winery’s name. The winery itself dates back to the 1880s, when demand for Sicilian wine was high due to phylloxera not yet reaching the island. COS put the appellation of Cerasuolo di Vittorio on the map, and is most well known for Pithos Rosso, which is aged in amphora instead of oak. They have never used any chemicals at COS, and have been practicing biodynamic farming and winemaking since 2000, and have been certified organic since 2007.

Nero di Lupo is 100% Nero d’Avola sourced from estate vineyards of 15-20 year old vines, planted at 300 meters elevation. Spontaneous fermentation takes place in concrete tanks with indigenous yeast; the wine is further aged in concrete for approximately 1 year, and another few months in bottle before release. This is a softly fruity, balanced wine, with notes of cherry and smoke.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

June 28, 2019

Peter Buckley from Vineyard Road pouring.

Domaine des Cognettes Clisson Muscadet 2013

The village of Clisson is a mini-appellation within Muscadet Sevre et Maine. The vines (in this case over 60 years old) grow on poor, hard, compact granite with little clay, and a lot of quartz and mica over hard granite.

Brothers Stephane and Vincent Perraud work organically on their small property, as well as patiently. This Muscadet (100% Melon de Bourgogne) is pressed in whole bunches, fermented with native yeasts and very low SO2, with fermentation and aging in underground vats for 44 months. May need decanting…

Domaine Pattes Loup, Burgundy

Notes from the importer: Domaine Pattes Loup is one of the most exciting estates to emerge from Chablis in recent years (Pattes Loup means “wolf’s paws”). Thomas Pico started his tiny estate in Courgis in 2005, just outside of Chablis, under the wing of his friends and fellow organic Chablisiens, Alice and Olivier de Moor. He inherited 2.4 hectares of vines from his family’s estate that had been producing correct, but uninspiring wines. Fortunately, most of his vines were planted by his grandfather in selection massale in the hillsides near Courgis and Preys, the two highest altitude villages within Chablis, with vineyards up to 300 meters. Motivated to take a qualitative leap in a new direction, and against the wishes of his father, he immediately began a program of strict yield control and a conversion to Organic Viticulture—a rarity in Chablis, and a feat of extreme diligence in this often inhospitable vine growing region.

Thomas Pico Blanc, Vin de France 2017

Pico Blanc is Chardonnay, Gros Manseng, and Clairette from organically farmed vineyards, fermented in stainless steel. It’s a touch creamy, with orchard fruits throughout, and fresh acidity on the finish.

Chablis Vent d’Ange 2017

Importer notes: From vines averaging 55 years old mostly selection massale plantings by Pico’s grandfather around the villages Courgis and Preys, south-west of central Chablis. Vineyards are approximately 300 meters high making these two of Chablis highest altitude villages. All vineyard work is done by hand. Yields are kept small at the domaine, approximately 28 hectoliters per hectare.

Pico uses a “champagne press” at the domaine to allow for a very slow and delicate press of the grapes. All juice moves downstairs to the vinification settling room by gravity through a drain at the bottle of the press. All wines are fermented using only indigenous yeasts and élevage is slow and long lasting up to 14 months. A combination of stainless steel and cement eggs are used for the Chablis Vent d’Ange. The juice is racked and blended and will be blended again before bottling. Each parcel is vinified separately and blended after one year of fermentation. Bottled without fining and filtration. It’s aged for 14 months on the lees in a combination of stainless steel, cement egg, and used barrique.

Elisabetta Foradori, Ampeleia Unlitro 2018, IGT Costa Toscana

Elisabetta took over the grape growing and winemaking duties at the family estate in Trentino, Italy, when her father died young in 1985. Since then she has transformed the estate from the ground up, converting to biodynamic viticulture and bringing the region back to valuing quality over quantity.

Ampeleia is a joint venture from Elisabetta and a few friends. Unlitro is a liter of glou-glou. It’s mostly Alicante (Grenache) and some Carignan and Alicante Bouschet from vineyard planted at 200-250 meters above sea level, then fermented and aged for 6 months in cement. Organic, very low SO2. Put a little chill on it, toss it back.

Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Rouge 2018

Importer notes: Romain Guiberteau is the third generation on the estate, and things have changed radically since he took over. Romain’s grandfather was a pillar in the community of Saumur before and after World War II, long serving as the head of the local growers’ coop. That coop long benefited from the grapes grown on Guiberteau’s land until Romain returned from college.

Today, Romain oversees the organic farm and does all the winemaking at the estate. His vines date back to the years just after World War II and include some of the prime sites in and around Saumur. Romain’s father Robert, a medical doctor, assisted in the transformation of the estate and you are likely to meet him at a tasting, explaining the history of the wines and the vines his mother and father planted.

Cabernet Franc from 3 parcels of over 60 year old vines grown on limestone. 100% de-stemmed, indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged for 6 months in tank.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

June 21, 2019

Leigh Ranucci is pouring a selection of French wine from the Wine Traditions portfolio.

Marcel Giraudon Bourgogne Aligoté 2018, Chitry, France

The Giraudon family has been farming and making wine in Chitry (one of four viticultural communes of the Auxerrois) for centuries. Their vineyards are on hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl, the same one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. In fact, in the 19th century the wines of Chitry were sold under the name Chablis. In 1929 they were given the name “Bourgogne des Environs de Chablis”. Currently, they go by Chitry, or Bourgogne Chitry.

Aligoté accounts for only about 5% of Burgundy’s total vineyard area; it’s the region’s little known “other white grape”. In Chitry though, it makes up 40% of vines planted. Marcel Giraudon keeps yields low, harvests by hand, and allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation to temper its naturally high acidity. That acidity makes this wine a perfect partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads.

Domaine du Crêt de Bine “La Cuvée de Florence” 2018 Beaujolais Blanc

The Subrin family farms this 5 hectare property in the village of Sarcy, situated on a high plateau tucked between the Monts Beaujolais and the Monts Lyonnais in the southwest corner of the Beaujolais appellation. The Subrin’s vineyard is planted on granite with significant deposits of quartz and feldspar. On average, the vines are 40 years old. François, Marie-Therèse, and daughter Florence farm organically and biodynamically. To insure maximum health and ripeness for their grapes, they severely limit the yields and harvest late into the growing season.

We tasted a barrel sample of this wine back in March with Florence herself. The chalky, silty minerality of the barrel sample has been complimented by delicately floral characteristics coming to the fore. It’s beautifully balanced and elegant. 100% Chardonnay.

Domaine du Cros Marcillac Rosé, 2018

The appellation of Marcillac is in southwestern France, nestled in the mountain range known as the Massif Central. At 22 hectares, Domaine du Cros is the largest independent producer in the appellation; Philippe Teulier and his family have been instrumental in reestablishing the reputation of Marcillac’s wines. Back in the early 80s, the family (then on its 4th generation in Marcillac) only had one hectare of vines. Since then they have added to their hectares through purchasing and renting. Philippe Teulier’s vines lie at elevations as high as 450 meters on a few different hillsides that surround the village of Clairvaux. Much of his vineyard is terraced and the soil is an iron rich clay known locally as “rougier” with outcroppings of limestone. His wines are made from one grape type, the local grape of Marcillac, Fer Servadou.

This rosé is from 25 year old vines planted on steep slopes of limestone (at the top) and rougier. The grapes are hand-harvested, and once pressed, the skins stay in contact with the juice for 6-12 hours until the desired pink hue is achieved. It’s then fermented in stainless steel and bottled in the spring. It’s a red-fruited, spicy rosé that’s perfect grill-side.

Domaine Billard Père et Fils Hautes Côtes de Beaune Rouge, 2017

Domaine de Billard is made up of 12.5 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in different appellations throughout the Cotes de Beaune. Their largest holdings are in the Hautes Cotes de Beaune with other small plots located in Saint Romain, Saint Aubin 1er Cru, Auxey Duresses, and Beaune. Yields are kept low through the use of cover crops and severe pruning. All the vines are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. Jérôme’s father sold his wine to the local cooperative, but Jérôme is now estate bottling his entire production.

Note from Wine Traditions: The Billard HCB rouge comes from a plot of 4 hectares of alluvial clay soil. It is extracted by foot pressing, respecting the delicate nature of Pinot Noir, then matured in barrel for 10 months. A rigorous bunch selection is made in the vineyard before harvest ensuring ripe, healthy grapes; resulting in a real purity of Pinot Noir fruit expression.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM-8PM

June 14th, 2019

Plus Willie’s Superbrew pours tomorrow, 3-6PM

And other tastings in the shop, too…scroll to the bottom to see those.

Guilhem et Jean-Hugues Goisot, Saint-Bris “Exogyra Virgula” 2017, Burgundy

Goisot has been hit hard by frost and hail in recent vintages, and has been touch-and-go as far as availability goes (and the ability to continue producing wine). Their 2017 Aligoté vintage was 1/6 of normal. Guilhem Goisot represents the fourth generation to farm this family property (organically and biodynamically), along with his father Jean-Hughes. They are known for their risky late-harvests, made riskier by climate change and the myriad problems it brings with it. The vineyards of 15-50 year-old vines are planted on a ridge of limestone that stretches from Sancerre to Chablis and Champagne. 

This Saint Bris is from vines grown on Jurassic soil of kimmeridgien clay with fosilized oyster shells (Exogyra Virgula). Saint Bris is a small AOC within Burgundy, and the only place where Sauvignon Blanc is allowed. Apparently the grape found its way to the region after the phylloxera blight that wiped out Chardonnay. Saint Bris used to be considered part of Chablis, but geographical reassignments post-phylloxera left it to fend for itself. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, since by the 1970s the Sauvignon Blanc here was being recognized for its high quality.  

This wine is a delicious, savory, snappy Sauvignon Blanc that weaves garden-green notes with smoke, apple, walnuts, and a slightly oxidative bouquet. It’s a fun Sancerre alternative, and makes for a conversation-piece aperitif, and of course works very well with shellfish, like oysters.

Domaine les Capréoles, Gamay Rosé Cossinelle 2018, Beaujolais

In 2014, Cédric and Catherine Lecareux produced their first vintage on this old property of 3.5 hectares in Regnie-Durette. Two years later they added an additional 2ha of vines. Cédric is a trained agronomist and oenologist who spent 15 years working in the business before acquiring his own property. Everything here is done by hand, naturally, without chemicals, and very little SO2. They are currently working toward Demeter certification, and their wines are vegan-friendly. 

This rosé is fruity, youthful, and aromatic, punctuated by red fruit, and zesty acidity.

Chidaine Touraine Rouge 2017, Loire

Francois and Manuela Chidaine operate this second generation estate in Montlouis. The couple has been leaders in the natural wine movement, farming organically and biodynamically for decades. They have embraced no-till farming, known in the US as ”Carbon Farming”, (based on Masanobu Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution) which involves implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and converted into plant material and soil organic matter. In addition to a range of blended and single-parcel Montlouis, they also produce a couple of wines from top vineyards in Vouvray, as well as several easy-drinking value wines from purchased grapes from nearby vineyards.

This red is a blend of Cot (Malbec), Cabernet Franc, and Pineau d’Aunis from organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards throughout Touraine. It’s fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral barrels. Only 350 cases were made of this soft and spicy red. It’s a beautiful deep purple, and has an intriguing nose that hints at violets, cherries, tobacco, and fresh green onions. On the palate there’s ripe dark fruit, black pepper, cassis, and herbs. The finish is pleasantly astringent, with light tannins. This new arrival to our Best Buys table is a versatile crowd-pleaser, with a price-tag to please a crowd as well.

Azimut Negre 2015, Penedes, Spain

Azimut is a project of the Suriol family, known for making estate-grown and bottled organic wine and vintage Cava in the Alt Penedes province of Barcelona, Catalunya. Azimut comes from grapes they purchase from their neighbors, all of whom also farm organically. 

The grapes for this wine come from one 5-hectare vineyard situated at 250 meters altitude, on a slight slope with southern exposure and morning and afternoon Mediterranean breezes. It’s a blend of 40% Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), 20% Garnatxa, 20% Monastrell, 10% Syrah, and 10% Samsó (Carignan). It’s fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, then goes into concrete tanks for 8-15 months for malolactic fermentation and battonage for 3 months. It’s unfined, filtered through soft-paper, and only lightly sulfured at bottling. 

This is a medium-bodied, dark-fruited, earthy, lightly herbal, BBQ-friendly red. Pairs well with a fire pit. 

Friday, June 21st, 5-8PM: Leigh Ranucci will pour a selection of wine from the Wine Traditions portfolio, including a Cret de Bine Beaujolais blanc that we tasted with the producer as a barrel sample a few months back. It’s delicious! 

Tuesday, June 25th, 4-6:30PM: Ian Augustine pours for the Daylover CSA pickup (see below for info). 

Wednesday, June 26th, 5-7PM: Ismael Gozalo of Microbio and Ariana Rolich will pour wines they make (Ismael) and import (Ariana). 

Friday, June 28th, 5-8PM: Peter Buckley will pour a selection of wines from the Vineyard Road portfolio. 

Pop in to one or all of these tastings, the cool stuff will be flowing! 

Tuesdays, 4-6:30PM, through October

Daylover is a food and wine project by Ian Augustine that is anchored by a curated, experimental CSA. Vegetables, flowers and herbs come from a garden that is located at Osamequin Farm in Seekonk, MA, which is host to an emergent cooperative farming project. Every Tuesday from 4-6:30PM, Ian will offer a tasting of a few wines alongside the CSA pickup. The wines will aim to compliment that week’s CSA share, but also the garden/market hauls of those not participating in the Daylover CSA. From time to time he may also have some extra flowers or vegetables for sale. Come taste! And follow on Instagram @day_lover

Don’t forget: Father’s Day is this Sunday; if you’re in the market for a drinkable gift, we’ve got something for every taste and price-point, from traditional, to nerdy, to fine and rare. We’re here and happy to help you find the perfect present!

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

December 21, 2018

Put on your galoshes, hop those puddles, and be thankful we don’t have to shovel! Rain or shine, we’ve got a great tasting lined up this evening with Peter from Vineyard Road. Notes are below. 

We’re also having a special tasting on Sunday with Christin from Wine Bros., from 12:30 – 2pm. She’ll be pouring fizzies from Massachusetts and Maine. Swing on by, it’ll be fun!

Cheers! Merry Christmas! Safe Travels! 

Hild Morio-Muskat Secco 2016

Matthias Hild farms 5 hectares of old, terraced parcels in Upper-Mosel, a place a bit more known for quantity over quality, with most of the grapes going to cooperatives. Unlike the famed slate vineyards of lower Mosel, the vineyards here are mostly on limestone. And where Riesling makes up over 60% grapes planted in Mosel, Hild specializes in underdog grapes like Elbling, and this Morio-Muskat. Hild works his vineyards responsibly and is on the way toward organic certification.

This is a lightly fizzy, subtly sweet, snacking on apps, cooking dinner, greeting guests, wrapping presents, eating leftovers, just-one-more-little-sip-before-bed kind of wine.

Champagne Christophe Mignon Brut Nature NV

Christophe Mignon comes from a long line of farmers and winemakers in Le-Mesnil-le-Huttier This area in the Vallée de la Marne is known for its high percentage of Pinot Meunier, which is particularly well suited to the deep clay and chalky Tuffeaux soils that dominate the terrain. Christophe’s approach to farming is sometimes called the Mignon Method; it combines biodynamics, phytotherapy, homeopathy, and geobiology. He describes nature as a Rubik’s Cube, always offering up new challenges, so therefore he changes up his farming approach accordingly. He’s followed the lunar calendar for 20 years, allowing the moon’s cycles to dictate his work in the vineyards and in the cellar. He says “the moon for a vigneron is like a metronome for a musician.” To ensure low yields and the highest possible quality, he employs just one person per hectare. He prefers his wines on the drier side, so grapes are picked at optimum ripeness, thus allowing little to no dosage, and he uses very little sulfur.

This 100% Pinot Meunier is a 50/50 blend of two recent vintages, aged 24 months in bottle and finished without dosage. It’s dry and mineral driven, floral, expressive, red fruit scented, balanced and elegant.

Pierre Morey Bourgogne Blanc 2014

Domaine Pierre Morey is 11 hectares in Meursault planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Aligote. The family traces its roots back here to 1793. They’ve been certified organic since 1992 and biodynamic since 1997. All of their wines are 100% de-stemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, not fined and/or filtered for reds, rarely for whites. In addition to his duties at his own property, from 1988 to 2008, Pierre was cellar master and manager at Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet. Pierre’s daughter Anne Morey has been working with her father over the last few years and is now co-manager.

This Bourgogne Blanc is from 1.76ha of multiple parcels in Meursault (Les Millerands, En Monatine, Les Herbeux, Les Malpoiriers) on deep clay-limestone soils. It spends 16-20 months aging in older oak barrels and is bottled by gravity. This wine is floral, lightly spiced, balanced acidity, with notes of apples, pears, and honeysuckle on a classic rich Meursault palate.

Burlotto Dolcetto d’Alba 2017, Piedmont, Italy

Established in 1850 by Giovan Battista Burlotto, aka The Commendatore, presently G.B. Burlotto is a family run estate. The Commendatore’s great niece Marina Burlotto manages the winery. Her husband, Giuseppe Alessandria, manages the vineyards, and their son, Fabio, is the winemaker and in charge of marketing.

Note from the importer: Burlotto owns 15 hectares of vineyards at 280 to 360 meters elevation, located near the river Tanaro in Verduno, the northern most estate in Barolo. In the cellar Fabio works traditionally, selected wines are foot crushed, with minimal intervention, harvested grapes are destemmed, natural yeast ferments, extended skin contacts, and manual punch downs. The cooler night time temperatures of Verduno and meticulous work in the vineyards and in the cellar have enabled this estate to produce elegant, profound wines now considered among the very finest in Piedmont.

Domaine Jean-Marc et Thomas Bouley Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Rouge 2015

This 8.5 hectare property in Volnay & Côte de Beaune is farmed organically by father and son team Jean-Marc and Thomas Bouley. The grapes for this Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Rouge are from just under one hectare planted in 1979, 1980, 1999, and 2002.
The vineyards are on a south-facing hillside above Volnay, at 380m altitude, on red clay (oxidized iron) and limestone soil

Vinification: 100% de-stemmed, cold maceration in concrete or stainless steel tank. 2-3 weeks’ total tank time. 1 year aging on fine lees in older oak barrels.

2015 in Burgundy was a very good vintage for reds, and this is a lovely wine to drink now or lay down for a few years. Cherry, cranberry, a touch rustic, a little bit savory…it’ll be perfect on a holiday table or as a gift for the Burgundy or Pinot Noir lover.